Cathay Pacific and Boeing have announced that they are donating the first-ever Boeing 777 aircraft to the Pima Air & Space Museum in Arizona, one of the world’s largest facilities devoted to celebrating aerospace.The iconic B777-200 aircraft (line number WA001 and registered B-HNL) flew from Cathay Pacific’s home airport in Hong Kong to Tucson, Arizona, on Tuesday 18th September 2018. The jet will be displayed permanently at the museum alongside more than 350 other historic aircraft. Boeing first flew the B777-200 aircraft on 12th June 1994 and continued to use it as a test aircraft for several years. The aircraft joined the Cathay Pacific fleet in 2000 and was retired in May after 18 years of service. During its time with Cathay Pacific, B-HNL operated 20,519 flights, recording 49,687 hours of flying time.Rupert Hogg, Chief Executive, Cathay Pacific, said: “As the world’s very first B777, B-HNL holds a very special place in the history of both our airline and that of commercial aviation, and we are very pleased it will soon bring enjoyment to enthusiasts at its new home in Arizona. Our B777-200 aircraft have served us exceptionally well over the past two decades and, as we progressively retire these over the months ahead, we eagerly look forward to welcoming the state-of-the art B777-9 aircraft into our fleet from 2021.”In the 1990s, Cathay Pacific was one of a handful of airlines to provide input for the B777 at the design stage, which gave Hong Kong’s home airline a unique opportunity to refine the aircraft’s features to suit its needs. Among the requests were a cabin cross-section similar to the B747 Jumbo Jet, a modern ‘glass’ cockpit, fly-by-wire system, and, crucially, lower operating costs. Today, Cathay Pacific operates one of the largest B777 fleets in the world.Kevin McAllister, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and Chief Executive, said: “Cathay Pacific has been instrumental in the tremendous success of the B777 programme. The airline contributed greatly to the aircraft’s original design and has been one of its biggest ambassadors ever since. Now they are a launch customer for our new B777X aircraft. We are thrilled to partner with Cathay on this donation to the museum as a way to share the remarkable story of the Boeing 777 for years to come.”
Michael Flood is the Editor of Ireland's leading travel industry publication, Irish Travel Trade News. With more than 35 years experience, he has accumulated an in-depth knowledge of the airline industry and the travel and tourism world.